Roman Women

Roman Women

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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Roman Women, by Alfred Brittain This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Roman Women Woman: In All Ages and in All Countries, Volume 2 (of 10) Author: Alfred Brittain Release Date: May 12, 2010 [eBook #32356] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ROMAN WOMEN*** E-text prepared by Thierry Alberto, Rénald Lévesque, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreaders Europe (http://dp.rastko.net) WOMAN VOLUME II ROMAN WOMEN by Rev. ALFRED BRITTAIN TULLIA, DAUGHTER OF SERVIUS After the painting by E. Hildebrand We have had the good queen, now we encounter the bad..... Tullia was of that type of which Shakespeare has given a picture in Lady Macbeth..... Lucius, her husband, with an armed band, repaired to the Senate and seated himself on the throne. King Servius appeared, but no one thought it worth while to hinder Lucius from throwing the aged ruler down the steps of the Senate house; which me manfully did. Tullia was the instigator of this coup d'état; a n d impatient to learn its success, drove to the Forum, and, calling her husband from the Senate chamber, was the first to hail him as king. But Lucius commanded her to return home; and the tradition runs that as she was going thither her chariot wheels passed over the dead body of her royal father. WOMAN In All Ages and in All Countries VOLUME II ROMAN WOMEN by Rev. ALFRED BRITTAIN Illustrated PHILADELPHIA GEORGE BARRIE & SONS, PUBLISHERS PREFACE The student of history does not proceed far in his researches before he discovers that human nature is a fixed quality. Other lands, other manners; other times, other customs. But the man behind the manner is essentially the same; the woman under the changed custom is not thereby rendered essentially different, any more than she is by a varying of costume. The women of ancient Rome exemplified the same virtues, and were impelled by the same foibles as are the women of to-day. And the difference in environment, the vanished conditions of Roman life, gain large scientific interest from the fact that they did not result in any dissimilarity of fundamental character. If, by the most violent exercise of the imagination, it were possible to transport a female infant of the twentieth century, and cause her to be reared among the women of the Augustan age, she would fit as naturally into her surroundings as she would into the present society of London or of New York. Her legal status would be different; her moral conceptions would be unlike those of the present age; her duties, pleasures, privileges, and limitations would combine to make the accidents of life very different. But underneath all this, the same humanity, the same femininity, the same habits of mind are revealed. Herein is the chief use of history--above that of gratifying natural curiosity--the ascertaining how human nature will comport itself under varying conditions. The author hopes that the following pages, wherein the Roman woman is taken as an illustration, will be found of use to the student of the science of humanity, and not uninteresting to the reader inquisitive as to the manner of the ancient civilization. ALFRED BRITTAIN. I THE WOMAN OF LEGENDARY ROME The conditions which governed the life of woman in the earliest days of Roman history are too far removed from the searchlight of historical investigation for us to essay to indicate them with any degree of fulness and accuracy of detail. While it is true that the ancient writers have bequeathed to us records of historic events from the very founding of their nation, the source of their information is very questionable and its authenticity extremely doubtful. Rome did not cultivate literature until very late in her history; she was too greatly preoccupied in her rôle of conquering the world. At a time when every Greek was acquainted with the noblest poetry produced by his gifted race, Rome had not produced a single writer whose name has been preserved. And if at that time she had possessed any men of letters, it is quite certain that there were few of her citizens who would have been able to read their works. Hence, when the first attempt was made to write her history, the authors depended principally for their material on traditions and legends which, as is the case with all such lore, had gained greatly in marvellousness at the expense of historical value. In addition to these sources, it is probable that during the early centuries annals were kept of the principal happenings in the State. According to Cicero, they were written at the end of each year by the high priest. These records were used by the first historians; and it is likely that the latter were not so greatly restrained, by their literary conscience, from enlarging on the material, as they were tempted, according to the power of their imagination, to present a picture both interesting and satisfactory to the national pride. In many cases, as where the exact words of their characters are reported, the ancient historians evidently deemed that any deficiencies in the matter of proof were abundantly atoned for by the explicitness of the information given. As to the historical value of legends, that is a question upon which modern writers are inclined to disagree. Since the inauguration of the higher criticism, it has been the fashion for extremists entirely to disown any belief in the dramatis personæ of ancient traditions. They claim that the names and the actions thus celebrated usually represent natural forces and historic evolutions; though, to the ordinary student, this would seem to require a remarkable amount of poetic inventiveness on the part of an undeveloped people. Moreover, it is not, perhaps, without reason that the student often looks upon the manner in which modern scholars reject the traditional contributions of the old historians as being a little arbitrary. What traveller has not found his patience sorely tried, while viewing with reverence the reputed site of some heroic or sacred occurrence of far-off days, as he recalled to memory the fact that the latest authorities hold that, while the thing might have taken place a few miles to the east or a short distance to the north, it, for certain erudite but unconvincing reasons, could not possibly have occurred on the spot where it has been located by the continuous belief of centuries? The story of Rome from its founding to the end of